Last week the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced its 2012 class. Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller headlines a group that includes University of Virginia and Houston Rockets star Ralph Sampson, UCLA and Los Angeles Lakers star Jamaal Wilkes, two-time Olympic gold medalist Katrina McClain Johnson, and Don Nelson, the NBA’s all-time winningest coach.
Reggie joins his older sister Cheryl, class of 1995, in Springfield. The Millers are the only siblings inducted as players into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
There is nothing unusual about siblings playing, or even excelling at, the same sport. Dozens of brothers have played alongside or against each other in the NBA, the NHL, the NFL, NASCAR, and Major League Baseball. But it is rare that two children from the same parents are so accomplished that both end up in their sport’s hall of fame.
Here are thirteen examples of hall-of-fame siblings from across the world of sports.
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Cheryl and Reggie Miller
We know Reggie Miller today for his highlight reel of clutch postseason performances, for being the second most prolific three-point shooter in NBA history, and for leading the Indiana Pacers (a team that had spent a decade in the NBA’s basement before Reggie arrived) to the playoffs 15 times in 16 seasons, including a trip to the 2000 NBA Finals and six appearances in the Eastern Conference Finals.
But before his coming out party against the New York Knicks in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, Reggie was a one-time All Star, the best player on a so-so team, and the second most famous basketball-playing Miller.
Reggie’s older sister Cheryl was one of the first transcendent women’s basketball players.
She was a Parade All-American in each of her four seasons at Riverside Polytechnic High School in California and once scored 105 points in a high school game. Cheryl played her college ball at USC, where she was a four-time All-American and three-time Naismith Player of the Year. She scored 3,018 points in her college career and led the USC Trojans to NCAA championships in 1983 and 1984. (Those teams also featured Hall of Famer Cynthia Cooper and All-American Pamela McGee, JaVale’s mother.)
Both Miller siblings have Olympic gold medals—Cheryl in 1984 and Reggie in 1996. Reggie finished his NBA career with 25,279 points, good for 14th all-time. He’s also ninth all-time in free-throw percentage. Cheryl, after graduating from USC in 1986, was drafted by the USBL (a men’s league). Injuries kept her from playing professionally. She coached two seasons at USC in the 1990s, posting a record of 42-14 with two NCAA Tournament appearances, before coaching the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA for four seasons. Her 1998 Mercury team went to the WNBA Finals.
Reggie and Cheryl both work for Turner Sports. Their older brother Darrell played 224 games for the California Angels between 1984 and 1988.
(The Millers are the only brother-sister pair on this list. The only other opposite-sex blood relatives from the same generation both enshrined in a major sports hall of fame are first cousins Eleonora and Richard Sears, both of whom are members of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.)
Baseball Hall of Fame
Lloyd and Paul Waner, Baseball Hall of Fame
Paul and Lloyd Waner, nicknamed “Big Poison” and “Little Poison,” were two-thirds of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ outfield in the late 1920s and 1930s and are the only brothers enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Paul Waner (Big Poison) finished his twenty-year career with 3,152 hits, a .333 batting average, and the 1927 National League MVP. He went to Cooperstown in 1952.
Lloyd Waner (Little Poison) led the National League in runs scored as a rookie in 1927 and went on to post a .316 batting average with 2,459 hits in his nineteen-year career. Bill James, guru of advanced metrics, included the younger Waner in his list of players who do not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Lloyd, who made only a single All-Star team in nearly two decades in the majors, was elected by the Veterans Committee in 1967. He benefited from playing in an era when batting averages were inflated and being elected in an era when batting averages were overvalued.
At any rate, Cooperstown has immortalized the Waner brothers. Big and Little Poison hold the record for most hits—5,611—by brothers in the majors. (The three Alou brothers had 5,094; the three DiMaggio brothers had 4,853.)
International Tennis Hall of Fame
Clarence and Joseph Clark
The Clark brothers, Clarence and Joseph, were instrumental to the growth of tennis in the United States in the late 19th century.
Both brothers won doubles titles at the U.S. National Championships (predecessor of the U.S. Open), Clarence playing with Frederick Winslow Taylor in 1881 and Joseph playing with Dick Sears in 1885. Joseph also won collegiate singles and doubles national championships as a student at Harvard in 1883.
Clarence was the first secretary of the United States Lawn Tennis Association (now the USTA); Joseph served as president of the organization from 1889-1891. The International Tennis Hall of Fame elected Joseph as a member in 1955. Clarence joined his brother in 1983.
Laurie and Reggie Doherty
Not long after the Clark brothers helped popularize tennis in the United States, the Doherty brothers dominated the sport on both sides of the pond.
Reginald “Reggie” Doherty and Lawrence “Laurie” Doherty won eight Wimbledon and two U.S. Open doubles titles between 1897 and 1905. The brothers also combined for ten Grand Slam singles titles: Laurie won Wimbledon six times and the U.S. Open once; Reggie won Wimbledon four times.
The pair owned the tennis competition at the 1900 Olympics in Paris. Together they won gold in doubles; Laurie won gold in singles; and Reggie teamed up with five-time Wimbledon champion Charlotte Cooper to win gold in mixed doubles.
The Doherty brothers were inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1980.
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
International Motorsports Hall of Fame
Bobby and Donnie Allison
In the 1950s the Allison brothers, Bobby and Donnie, of Miami, Florida, settled in Hueytown, Alabama, a small town outside of Birmingham. Stock car racing attracted the Allisons to central Alabama. Together with friend Red Farmer, Bobby and Donnie dominated races on the region’s many dirt tracks.
By the 1960s the Alabama Gang (as the trio came to be known) was making its mark on NASCAR’s Grand National (later Winston Cup and currently Sprint Cup) Circuit.
In 25 years in NASCAR’s top circuit, Bobby Allison won 84 races, including three Daytona 500s, and the 1983 Winston Cup championship. Bobby’s younger brother Donnie won 10 Grand National races and was rookie of the year at the 1970 Indianapolis 500. He is perhaps best known for his fight with Cale Yarborough following a crash on the final lap of the 1979 Daytona 500.
Bobby’s son Davey Allison compiled 19 Winston Cup victories before his untimely death in 1993.
Al and Bobby Unser
Only seven drivers in the 100-year history of the Indianapolis 500 have won the race three or more times. Two of them were Unser brothers.
Bobby Unser won the Indy 500 in 1968, 1975, and 1981. (Immediately following the 1981 race, USAC—the governing body for Indy cars at the time—penalized Unser for passing cars under caution and named Mario Andretti the champion. A few months later, after a lengthy appeals process, USAC restored Unser’s title.) Bobby also won USAC championships in 1968 and 1974.
Al Unser (now known as Al Unser, Sr.) is one of only three people to win the Indianapolis 500 four times, taking the checkered flag in 1970, 1971, 1978, and 1987. Prior to the 1987 race, Penske dropped Unser from its roster. He ended up filling in for injured Penske driver Danny Ongais. Despite starting in 20th position and driving a back-up car, Unser outlasted Andretti, who had started from pole position and led for 170 of the race’s 200 laps. Al won a USAC championship in 1970 and CART championships in 1983 and 1985.
The Unsers are the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s most celebrated family.
Al’s son, Al Unser, Jr., won the 500 twice (and might have won more if the IRL-CART split hadn’t interrupted the prime of his career). Bobby’s son Robby started two Indy 500s, finishing fifth in 1998. Al and Bobby’s older brother Jerry drove in the 1958 500 but died tragically during practice for the 1959 race. Jerry’s son Johnny drove in Indianapolis five times.
You’ve now learned about same-sport Hall of Fame siblings from basketball, baseball, tennis, and auto racing.
But did you know there is one sports Hall of Fame in which a whopping SIX sets of siblings are enshrined?
Continue reading to find out which sport it is, plus get a look ahead at siblings who are currently positioning themselves to join the list of siblings in this post.